“ Brand: Lakeland / Type: Kitchenwares „
In the last two years I have majorly revamped my eating habits; moving from a diet that was heavy on convenience and packaged foods towards one where I cook everything from scratch. I have even started to make my own bread, cakes and biscuits and my daughter loves to become involved in everything I make, with her own little chopping board (she cuts up mushrooms etc with table knives so no-one panic!) and pieces of dough/pastry to knead and prepare. Now she is coming up to three I have been on the lookout for more kitchenware to encourage her love of preparing and cooking food; we found a tiny oven dish with lid which she got for Christmas (and loves to make her own miniature fish pies etc in) but I wanted to find her some more in her size. This is where my mother came up trumps with this super little children's bakeware set from Lakeland.
***What do you get?***
I was originally surprised when I pulled the bits out of the blue and yellow box as everything is so small and I suppose my eyes are accustomed to adult size kitchenware. However as we began to unpack and wash the bits and pieces I became more and more excited by the range and professional appearance of this set. Most things aimed at children are brightly coloured and smothered in images but this set is simply scaled down adult kitchenware, a refreshing relief to a parent. You get:
# A child sized wooden rolling pin and metal whisk
# A normal size wooden pastry brush
# Six plastic biscuit cutters; three of varying sizes, a Christmas tree and a male and female gingerbread shape
# A metal jelly mould/cake tin
# A metal flan tin
# A red/non-stick metal sandwich cake tin
# A springform metal caketin (identical to my larger one!)
# A little metal cupcake tray (and I mean little, its adorable)
# A pizza tray
# A rectangular baking tray
# A plastic mixing bowl with plastic lid that is freezer and microwave safe
# A tiny metal loaf tin, which makes a loaf about the size of a bread roll.
# A recipe pamphlet
All of these pieces are made to really high standards, there has been no skimping here and they are of a similar quality to the pieces that I have in my kitchen. The Lakeland blurb says that they are suitable for both playing and baking, but it would be such a terrible shame to use these as toys when they can be used to cook proper food.
The box says from 3+ but my daughter is a sensible and always supervised 2.5 years old. There are no little bits to be swallowed and under adult supervision I suppose 2.5 is a good starting point depending on the child.
After unpacking, washing and drying the set with my daughter, whose squeals of glee could no doubt be heard in the next canton, I flicked through the recipe pamphlet for inspiration. I found 6 recipes, four of which looked vaguely promising but more useful for working out the capacity of the pans and how to scale down my pre-existing recipes. Despite having included biscuit cutters there is no simple biscuit recipe or gingerbread recipe, no flan base recipe for the flan tin, or pie/pastry/cupcake recipe for the cupcake tin. Luckily I have a superb never-fail bread recipe but for those stumped by the loaf tin there is no help to be found here; and those eagerly wielding their natty new pastry brush will be wielding in vain if they are relying on this paltry booklet. There are two cake recipes (banana and fruit), a scone recipe and one for something called 'chocolate people' which looks more complicated than the simple child-friendly recipes I have collected myself. The final two recipes are for jelly (which isn't really a child-friendly recipe with the boiling water) and one for something called bean pies, which take baked beans and cover them with substandard pastry (no info about keeping the dough cold or using your fingertips to mix) and then bake. After the excellence of the kit itself I was sorely disappointed, especially as there are no other indications or explanations anywhere of how to scale down 'adult' portions or even how much bread dough to put in the loaf tin to make sure it doesn't over rise in the oven.
Having been momentarily disappointed by the recipes we got on with knocking up a batch of dough to make pizza and bread rolls, utilising the loaf tin and pizza tray. Olivia was overjoyed with her miniature loaf and pizza and tucked in with more than usual gusto, but was sad that she didn't get to use her new mixing bowl as I couldn't work out how much of the ingredients I should put in. A few days later we tried out the banana bread recipe which was ok but not mindblowing, not as good as the mini jam tarts we turned out in the cupcake tin, or the mini muffins and Victoria sponge we ran up a few days later. It has been so exciting for Olivia to be able to work along side me in the kitchen, making her own food and visibly growing in confidence with ingredients and putting them together in her own way. Everything has to be washed by hand, but that was just a cue for me to get Olivia her own washing up bowl and sponge!
This set has been a complete success and one of the best presents I think Olivia has ever received. I feel that she is getting a real understanding of where food comes from, how to create it and just how easy (and cheap) it is to put things together to make simple meals from scratch. It is also encouraging me to be more creative in my own cooking, as with her own implements Olivia has become much more demanding about getting into the kitchen and trying something new.
***Price and Suppliers***
It came from Lakeland and cost £15.99
Or you can look at page 57 of the latest Lakeland catalogue (Spring 08) / buy instore at your nearest Lakeland store.
I have seen it in other places e.g. cookability.biz for £29 as Progress Children's Bakeware Set (the name on the top of the included recipe pamphlet), so the Lakeland price looks very good indeed.
Child size baking set includes everything needed for play or real baking!